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We can visit gyms after level 5, and presumably fight against the local pokemon which will actually be the first time fighting (so far, I have only collected pokemon, if there are fights pre-L5 please tell me how).

All of my freshly caught Pokemon are unevolved and none of the obtained candies have been used. They are also a mix of various types, with 1 Psychic type (Abra) which afaik is strong vs almost all types?

Do I need to evolve one or more pokemon first, or create teams from specific types (not played much of the regular Pokemon series)? Are there benefits to 'gym challenges' even if I don't win, or should I wait until I have a strong team to attempt them?

  • Well Psychic can be weak to Bug, and from what I've seen, at least around my area, every gym has a Beedril on it. So that's a no go on Abra for me. – Kaizerwolf Jul 8 '16 at 18:20
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There are no fights before player level five. You will also not receive Potions and Revive items from Pokéstops before this level, as you have no use for them without access to fights.

Evolving can be helpful, although Combat Power (CP) is generally a much stronger indicator of success in a Gym battle. Additionally, you will want to build your team to combat the enemies' strengths and weaknesses. This follows the typical format from earlier Pokémon games (e.g. Fire is super effective against Grass, Electric is super effective against Flying, Water is super effective against Fire, etc.). This web page should be a useful resource in helping you build a strong team to counter your opponents' types.

The gym system is a little complicated, but in essence, by fighting an enemy gym you reduce that gym's prestige (until eventually your team takes it over). Once your team takes over a gym, you can increase its prestige by continuing to battle there. If there is an empty slot in the gym, you should be able to station a Pokémon there, which will help defend it from enemy teams. Once every 21 hours you can claim a reward for holding a gym by going into the shop menu and tapping the shield icon in the top right. The reward for each Pokémon that is still stationed in a gym is 500 Pokédust and 10 Pokécoins.

  • I'm adding an edit to your answer, just to clarify pokemon typings, as "plant" and "lightning" are a little off the mark. :) – Kaizerwolf Jul 8 '16 at 18:44

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